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Human Volition in Climate Change by City Tech Blogger Clarence Avendanio

All the data which scientists have collected has let us conclude that climate change is real and happening. Greenhouse gasses (GHG) stay in the atmosphere for at least two average human life spans before they dissipate. We are gradually experiencing the effects of the Earth’s temperature rising and its ramifications that affect all living things. The intensity, frequency, and duration of droughts, heat waves, and hurricanes are the most visible consequences that we are experiencing today. Put simply, this is alarming and dangerous. Now, we know that human beings typically act in their own self-interests first, it is just the way we are. But perhaps this contributes to the problem about the commitment and drive to make meaningful strides and progress about climate change. The keyword is “gradual” because you cannot observe climate change in just a short period. You need at least three decades of data to scientifically prove the changes in the climate. People are more worried about how to put food on the table and provide walls and safety for their immediate family rather than thinking about ways to conserve energy. Since the changes in climate do not happen overnight, it is not an immediate concern to do the right thing as soon as possible. It is true that some are already informed and taking the necessary steps but it does not come close to what we could really do if we put more attention on how to make an impact regarding Earth’s temperature. I think this is short-sighted because if you look at it in the long run, the family you are trying to protect are the ones that will be affected the most. But then again, can you blame them? If we lack the drive to change today with all the data that has been gathered, are we sure that the best course of action is still to mitigate climate change by reducing the emission of burning fossil fuels? For the record, I am all for the regulations, education, and the scientific studies that have been proven to help us mitigate GHGs. However, what if this is still not enough? Is anything we are doing right now enough? Like I mentioned earlier, it takes a while for the GHGs to dissipate in the atmosphere. Should we reallocate some of our resources to adaptation as well? Unless our drive to seriously and continuously change, get engaged, and increase awareness of climate change increases, it will be all for naught.

One of the problems with human volition is its short-sightedness, especially towards climate change. Take the shipping routes in the Northwest Passage, as the ice keeps melting more routes are being considered to be economically viable. This has led to global leaders fighting for those newly available routes over who has the legal right to use them. But aren’t these the same people who are supposed to be the ones protecting the ice from melting? Suddenly you have a conflict of interest in what is best for you. As a nation’s leader, it would be obvious for you to get those routes to put yourself in a competitive advantage to improve your nation’s economy. Think of the huge deals you can make if you open and offer those routes for others to use. Some people may consider that climate change is not so bad if it brings more jobs and food to the table. I think this is a setback and should not be the case but it’s hard to argue that there aren’t windows of opportunities here that some would be willing to take the risk. It’s every man for himself. This goes back to my original comment that the volition of humans could determine how dramatic climate change could change their lives on a daily basis. Unless the extreme effects of global warming happen more frequently in a monthly or even weekly basis that it is literally hurting everyone, people are not just going to willingly change and be a part of contributing less of a carbon footprint. The reality is that it takes something drastic before we will wake up and do something about it. We are usually reactive to a problem rather than proactive. People will lose their lives and it might be a little too late before we realize that we are in trouble no matter how committed we are to fixing the problem.


Murphy, J. (2018, November 01). Is the Arctic set to become a main shipping route? Retrieved March 21, 2019, from https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45527531

Patel, J. K., & Fountain, H. (2017, May 03). As Arctic Ice Vanishes, New Shipping Routes Open. Retrieved March 21, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/03/science/earth/arctic-shipping.html



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